from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A tower or other fortification on the approach to a castle or town, especially one at a gate or drawbridge.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A scansorial barbet of the family Capitonidæ and subfamily Pogonorhynchinæ, or the genus Pogonias in a broad sense. The barbicans are all African, like the barbions.
  • noun In medieval fortification, an outwork of a castle or fortified place.
  • noun A loophole.
  • noun A channel or scupper in a parapet for the discharge of water.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Fort.) A tower or advanced work defending the entrance to a castle or city, as at a gate or bridge. It was often large and strong, having a ditch and drawbridge of its own.
  • noun An opening in the wall of a fortress, through which missiles were discharged upon an enemy.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A tower at the entrance to a castle or fortified town
  • noun A fortress at the end of a bridge.
  • noun An opening in the wall of a fortress through which the guns are levelled; a narrow loophole through which arrows and other missiles may be shot.
  • noun A temporary wooden tower built for defensive purposes.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a tower that is part of a defensive structure (such as a castle)


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French barbacane, from Medieval Latin barbacana, from Persian barbārkhān : barbār, guard (from Old Iranian *parivāraka-, protective; see wer-4 in Indo-European roots) + khān, house (from Middle Persian).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old French barbacane, of uncertain origin: compare Arabic بربخ (barbakh, "aqueduct, sewer"), and Persian باب‌خانه (bab-khâna, "gatehouse").



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